Kungliga Operan

The Promise (Löftet) - a love story in the shadow of the Holocaust

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The promise (Löftet) is a story of the invincible power of love and the darkest corners of humanity. The work was created directly for the Royal Swedish Opera and at the premiere, which takes place on 27 January at 7 pm, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, it will be performed on four stages at the same time: The Royal Swedish Opera's main stage and broadcast live via Operan Play, OperaVision and live on cinema at Folkets Hus och Parker.

Löftet. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
Löftet. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks

In a timeless story that hits right to the heart, we follow the two lovers Ava and Teo, who are separated during the final stages of World War II. In search of each other, they travel through a torn Europe with death as a constant companion. But the hope of life makes them dare to defy the dark and trust that love overcomes everything.

Through the live broadcast via three channels, a large audience both inside and outside Sweden gets the chance to experience the premiere. The opera is performed in Swedish and the broadcast via OperaVision is subtitled in English. It is not common that a newly written opera in Swedish has aroused such great interest, both within Sweden and in the rest of Europe, even before the premiere.  

»The promise is a fantastic new work, one that goes far beyond descriptions as "powerful" and "moving". None of what you will see and hear will leave you any time soon. And that's exactly how it's supposed to be. We should all be grateful. We must always remember!", says Michael Cavanagh, artistic director of the opera section.

The promise is specially commissioned by the Royal Swedish Opera, created directly for the Main Stage by composer Mats Larsson Gothe and librettist Susanne Marko, directed by Stefan Larsson. The music is performed by the Royal Swedish Orchestra in the direction of conductor Alan Gilbert, The Royal Swedish Opera's Music Director. In the leading role of Ava we see the acclaimed soprano Hanna Husáhr and Karl-Magnus Fredriksson play the role of Teo.

Susanne Marko on the true story behind the story in The Promise:

"In 1944, my parents married – in the shadow of the Holocaust. Soon after, they were deported to Auschwitz, where they were torn apart. When my father was freed in 1945, there was only one thought, a will: He had to find his beloved. So my father went on a senseless journey, straight into the heart of darkness. Into a torn, wounded, wounded, insane Europe — to search for his wife."

Mats Larsson Gothe on how he created a lot of space for the choir in the work:

»The Royal Opera Choir with its 54 members are extremely well-trained singers. There are many solo entrances from the choral singers – people who emerge from the choir, "choir of the dead", and tell us a little about themselves. They're dead, but they tell you who they were when they were alive. This is an opera that sometimes approaches the oratorio form. My hope is that it will also be able to be performed concertantly in the future, as an oratorio."

The work on the Promise has been characterized by sustainability. The costumes, created by Nina Sandström, consist of 100% recycled and recycled material. Many of the garments Nina has found second hand and adapted with the help of plant coloring and resated.

The action in brief:

The promise is the story of Ava, who is separated from her husband Teo in a concentration camp. After the end of the war, she is determined to find him again, and she is prepared to search all over war-torn and traumatized Europe. We follow her on a journey between reality and dream, hope and despair.

The pledge premieres January 27 at 7 p.m. and runs until March 5.

In connection with the Promise's playing period, a number of seminars will take place, in collaboration with the Forum for Living History and Jewish Culture in Sweden. More information about the seminars here.

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Löftet. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
Löftet. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
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Löftet, Hanna Husáhr. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
Löftet, Hanna Husáhr. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
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Löftet, Hanna Husáhr. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
Löftet, Hanna Husáhr. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
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Löftet, Hanna Husáhr and Karl-Magnus Fredriksson. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
Löftet, Hanna Husáhr and Karl-Magnus Fredriksson. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
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Löftet, Clifford Lewis and Agnes Auer. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
Löftet, Clifford Lewis and Agnes Auer. Photo Royal Swedish Opera/Sören Vilks
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08-791 43 00https://www.operan.se/

Kungliga Operan är sedan 1773 Sveriges nationalscen för opera och balett.

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